Big Bear, CA, May 23, 2015 – The idea for a Big Bear Valley riding club arose on a glorious summer day in 1944 when a group of local horsemen, who had just finished another majestic trail ride, discussed how they could share their love of the outdoors and good partnership with fine horses.
Many similar gatherings followed and in 1946 the group officially became Los Vaqueros De Las Montanas or Cowboys of the Mountains. During the 40’s, Vaqueros members rode and marked the early pioneer sites and points of historical interest in Holcomb Valley, helping to preserve the area’s western heritage. They also assisted in planning the route of local segments of the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail.
The first club sponsored rodeo was held in June of 1947 on the site which is now Meadow Park. Vaqueros’ annual Labor day Rodeos, a nearly half century tradition, took place at various locations around the valley for several years, but since 1966 have been held at the present Club Arena in Shay Meadow.
Before the valley had any large meeting center, the community would sometimes gather outdoors at the arena. In times of emergency, the stock pens on the grounds would become temporary sanctuary for horses and other animals rescued and transported by Vaqueros volunteers.The Club grounds also provide horse hostel to other Southern California riding clubs which regularly plan excursions here for the spectacular mountain riding. Volunteer Vaqueros riders often assisted authorities by riding into remote areas which eventually gave impetus to a Big Bear unit of the County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse.
The arena calendar also integrates long-standing, popular, Vaqueros-sponsored Gymkanas and has periodic roping and penning practice. The Club takes pride in it’s responsible arena stewardship, which honors the efforts and dreams entrusted by earlier members. Trail riding, the Club’s initial focus, still prevails as the mountain horseman’s favorite riding activity. Trail riding embodies all those aspects which make horse partnership so much more than mere sport. However praiseworthy the Club’s achievements are, opinions of the members show that warm supportive fellowship sharing mutual concerns is perceived as the most valid reason and valued reward for Los Vaqueros membership which echoes those horsemen from 1944 who had a good idea after a beautiful trail ride.